Real teens share their opinions on dating violence, healthy relationship, and the relationship between gender and dating, in regards to the treatment of dating partners.
The Center for Black Women’s Wellness is an organization dedicated to aid black women, as well as men in Atlanta, by providing resources and services regarding health. The CBWW also provides services for teens such as interactive youth workshops, a teen clinic, and a teen health leadership council (aka the L.O.F.T.Y. Crew).
This past spring, VOX facilitated a workshop with the CBWW’s L.O.F.T.Y. (Looking Out for the Youth) Crew surrounding healthy and not-so-healthy relationships. Teens were asked their views on and definitions of healthy relationship, as well as other questions circumambient to dating violence. The following responses are by several Atlanta teens who span the ages 14 to 17.
What is your definition of a healthy relationship? Why talk about dating violence?
By Teneasha Thrower, 14, Carver High School
My definition of a healthy relationship [is] if you keep it real with each other. What I mean by keep it real is that we don’t lie to each other, always be faithful, always talking things out instead of fighting, and respecting each other. In order to keep your relationship up, tell what it is and what it is going to be and they’ll understand what you [are] saying. Don’t try to talk to [anybody] else while y’all [are] together. We understand males like to hit females for cheating, but sometimes you just have to tell that person how you feel, whether it’s good or bad.
Editor’s note: Hitting someone in a dating relationship is never ok. See Loveisrespect.org’s relationship spectrum to learn more about healthy and unhealthy behaviors in dating relationships.
By Jahmedia Thompson, 16, Maynard Jackson High School
For many years now, people have been taught what they think a healthy relationship is. The truth is that there is no right or wrong answer. I believe that a relationship, sexual or not, is built on a number of things, one of them being trust; this is the building block of a relationship. If you have trust, very little could come between you. There are other factors involved in a healthy relationship, such as commitment, honesty, shared qualities, etc. However, the most important thing to know is the difference between love and lust; most people don’t know the difference because of the very thin line between them.
By Jamiya Clark, 15, Maynard Jackson High School
My definition of a healthy relationship is caring and trusting each other, not always arguing and having his agreements, not always try to make someone do something they don’t want to do. Trust is the building block of a healthy relationship.
By Corrasandra Weaver, 15, Maynard Jackson High School
My definition of a healthy relationship is they depend on each other, care for each other, and consider each other’s feelings about sex. Kids are talking about dating violence so nobody takes advantage of them. I wish my teachers know that I am very determined about what I love. I wish parents knew that kids have an open mind about things that we love and about sex, we know what we know they should not force anything on me or other teens, and be more expressive about their feelings.
By William McFarland III, 17, Columbia Academy
Healthy relationship is based on trust and loyalty because to make sure how the person you love feels the way you feel. Young teens today is very nervous about dating violence, dating violence is the number one thing teens talk about cuz teens [are] scared of dating violence based on their relationships.